To the Readers' Forum:
In his letter "Re-Examining Second Amendment Rights," the author claims the idea of self-defense "evolved along with changes in our society." One reason for his claim is that when the Constitution was written there was no rhetorical cry of "if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns." Firstly, that's not rhetorical - it's literal. Secondly, no such cry existed back then because there was no threat of outlawing guns. Gradual restrictions on guns are what eventually led to such cries.
The author believes the fear of "crazed gunmen" didn't exist when our constitution was written, and thus there was no "self-dense" rhetoric. Not true. The right to bear arms for individual protection was well-known to our forefathers. English law had declared it suitable that a man keep a gun for protecting his family. Children had guns and knew how to use them. Gun ownership in that society was so common and understood that specifically saying "for self-defense" in our constitution seemed unnecessary - it was obvious. Dismissing the self-defense notion by saying it "evolved along with changes in our society" is historically inaccurate - it existed then and it still exists now.
The author questions the effectiveness of armed citizens, mentioning the recent Tucson shooting but failing to mention the armed citizen who assisted in restraining the shooter. This shooting caused inevitable cries for stricter gun laws. But would gun laws have prevented it? Many shootings actually occur in places where it's illegal to possess firearms. Schools, for example, have become popular places for loons to shoot many people with little resistance specifically because they're gun free.
Consider the home invasion of William Petit. He was brutally beaten, tied up in his basement, and forced to listen as thugs raped, tormented, and murdered his wife and daughters on the floors above him. Maybe owning a gun would've helped, maybe not. But who's to deny a man's right to protect his family?
Lastly, the author ridicules my pro-gun reasoning, joking of a society where Wal-Mart greeters and teachers are armed "just in case." Yet many shootings do occur in schools and other public places where armed officials are not on guard. How funny that he mocks a society where good people are armed in the very places shootings generally occur! Considering the frequency of public shootings, "just in case" is an understatement.